A quick look at how the city is evolving to accommodate the needs of music lovers.
By Matt Carter @m_j_c73
Since Grid City Magazine first launched back in October 2014, our Home Scene series has allowed a number of city musicians and music fans the opportunity to share their opinions, praise and criticisms related to the city’s music culture. It’s been a healthy discussion. Home Scene has helped shed light on some lesser known acts making waves below the surface as well as the many challenges that face our city’s tight-knit music community.
For the twentieth edition of this series, we thought it might prove valuable to look back on a few of the reoccurring responses we received to the question, If you could improve one aspect of the city’s music scene, what would it be?
A large part of those interviewed for Home Scene expressed their concern for the health of the all-ages scene. While the scene has always existed in a state of flux, at times thriving with too many shows to attend and at other times struggling to find an identity of its own, its importance to the overall health of the broader music community remains a focus for many, not only for entertainment but also for inspiring next generation musicians and fans.
“Some of the most enlightening moments I had as a young musician were when playing on those bills with bands of all ages and genres,” said The Trick’s Pat Reinartz. “You learn a lot more hanging out with people who are different from yourself than you do when you just seek out the specific types of people and music you already know you like.”
“It’s hard to keep a scene fresh without a vibrant and healthy all-ages scene,” said Reinartz’ band mate and ubiquitous city musician Mike Nason. “Bar bands would be well served to remember what inspired them to play when they were younger. Fredericton can feed its scene by helping out with all-ages stuff. The shell of it is there. It’s better than it’s been in years.”
In addition to the concern raised over the importance of all-ages shows, there have also been many concerns raised involving show times. Emme Chevarie, a well-known city music blogger and promoter was the first to suggest how earlier shows could benefit a broader audience. “Not everyone is willing to attend shows starting at 10:00pm, which is the majority of what is offered,” she said, also suggesting the need for a smaller venue to host shows geared towards a listening audience.
Nick Cobham raised a similar point. “As an aging dad with a day job, I think I can speak for many others when I say more early shows would be ideal,” he said. “I know personally, I would go out to more shows if they didn’t end at two in the morning, but maybe that’s just me.”
It’s important for a community to try and accommodate the interests and needs of its audience and there is evidence to show efforts being made to improve opportunities in both these areas. There has definitely been an increase in all-ages activity in recent months. Connexion ARC recently made music a priority once again, hosting a slew of shows over the past few months, ReNeu Boutique (who have been doing all-ages shows for years) continue to book on a regular basis and the Charlotte Street Arts Centre auditorium has hosted a couple of metal shows recently. There have even been a few house shows popping up here and there, hosting everything from folk to grindcore. All of these events have been all-ages.
And on the bar side of things, Wilser’s Room (The Capital Complex) have been trying to offer earlier shows whenever possible, recently welcoming Andy Brown and Gabrielle Papillon for mid-evening performances.
Until it closed its doors for good last fall, The Cedar Tree Café filled the role of comfortable-venue-for-early-shows rather nicely – just not nice enough to keep the lights on. With the café space in the Charlotte Street Arts Centre going back on the market this summer, perhaps this is an opportunity for someone, or perhaps a collective of people, to try once again to establish a manageable venue/food service business to fill this important void in the community. The future of that space has yet to be written.
With concerns raised and efforts being made to accommodate, now it’s up to us to make sure we all put our money and time where our mouths are and support the promoters and venues willing to try new things in order to please us, their audience.
Here’s a look at a few upcoming shows that should please our all-ages needs and our interest in getting a good night’s sleep.
Roots and Soul Music Room
May 8 | The Young Novelists (Toronto)
May 9 | Washboard Hank (Ontario) Kids show at 3:00pm and evening show at 8:00PM pm
May 14 | Alex Visia and Lindsay Walker (Edmonton)
May 28 | Dan Walsh (Ontario)
May 29 | Drake Adams & The Sticky Bandits (NB)
June2 | Carolina Hum & Justice RF (Ontario)
June 5 | Red Haven (Vancouver)
June 6 | Syd Perry (Toronto)
June 12 | Belle Plaine (Saskatchewan)
June 17 | Dan Walsh (UK) & Meaghan Blanchard (PEI)
Gianna Lauren + Jacob Augustine + HILOTRONS + Cedric Noel | May 13, 2015 | 7:30pm | $8
Bing & Ruth + Paper Beat Scissors + Union Suit | May 17, 2015 | 7:30 PM | $12
Not the Wind-Not the Flag + Wintercoats + Goiter | May 20, 2015 | 9:00pm | $10
Cross + Buck Gooter + Glass Dolmen | May 21, 2015 | 9:00pm | $7